USS RONALD REAGAN, At Sea (NNS) -- The commander of Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 14 joined the prestigious ranks of the "1,000 trap" club aboard USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) on March 15, joining a select few who can claim membership.
Capt. Richard "Rhett" Butler achieved his 1,000th carrier-arrested landing while flying an F/A-18E Super Hornet from Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 115. He caught the No. 2 arresting wire aboard Ronald Reagan at approximately 3:15 p.m.
"That first trap was a very long time ago," said Butler. "A lot of work goes into 1,000 traps from all the folks down below that make the ship run. Tons of people and man-hours go into each one of those traps. I wish it was possible to thank every Sailor that helped make 1,000 traps possible. "
Butler's name will also now appear on a special plaque at the Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Fla., where naval aviation honors those who have reached this significant accomplishment.
Butler, who joined the Navy in 1983 while Ronald Reagan was in office, said making the 1,000th arrested landing aboard a ship named for the late president had a special significance.
"President Reagan and the military buildup of the 1980s was one of the reasons I decided to join the military," said Butler.
Capt. Terry B. Kraft, Ronald Reagan's commanding officer, called the event a "career milestone" in his announcement of the special occasion over the 1-MC system.
"It was a thrill watching him catch that 1,000th trap today," said Kraft. "This event symbolized all the deployments and time away from home and is a great way to celebrate this major accomplishment."
Butler, a native of Lexington, Ky., graduated from the University of Kentucky in 1983. He entered officer candidate school in 1983 and was designated a naval aviator in July 1985.
He assumed command of CVW-14 March 1 during an aerial change of command ceremony. Butler was previously the deputy commander of CVW-14, based out of Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif.
The squadrons of CVW-14 include the "Redcocks" of VFA-22, the "Fist of the Fleet" of VFA-25, the "Stingers" of VFA-113, the "Eagles" of VFA-115, the "Black Eagles" of Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 113, the "Cougars" of Tactical Electronic Attack Squadron (VAQ) 139, the "Providers" of Carrier Logistics Support (VRC) 30, Det. 1, and the "Black Knights" of Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron (HS) 4.
The Ronald Reagan Carrier Strike Group departed San Diego on Jan. 27 on a surge deployment in order to fill the role of USS Kitty Hawk (CV 63), the Navy's only permanently forward deployed aircraft carrier, as it undergoes scheduled maintenance in Yokuska, Japan.
For related news, visit the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) Navy NewsStand page at www.news.navy.mil/local/cvn76/.